Dump or Garden?

CtS21ft CamH3' 35mm 0001Mankind’s first address was inside Garden Grove Estates.  God gave Adam and Eve a home there, but they wanted more.  They wanted to know what God knew, even though he told them that kind of knowledge wasn’t for them.  They disobeyed, and got evicted.

Do you live in a garden?  I don’t live in a perfect one yet, but things are growing.  And I don’t even have a green thumb either!  My neighbor one day saw me trying to plant some flowers.  She said, “You don’t know what you are doing!”  I said, “I know, but I am having a great time.”  I desire, ache to live where God intended, meaning the kind of life, but since I don’t know what I am doing I need him.  I need him to design it.  I need him to remove the weeds, remove the trash, move boulders, and dig trenches for the living waters to flow in my garden.

I look around, and I see very few people living in gardens.  Instead, they have, like Adam and Eve, believed the lies of the devil, and have paid the consequences.  They have gotten hurt, down, defeated, or have settled.  Some have given up.  They act like “hope” is a four letter word, so they accept life in a dump.  It stinks!  It’s dirty, toxic, hazardous to your health, but they accept it.  More and more broken, ugly, bent, faded, rusty things of life, gets  dumped on them day after day, and they take it.  They call it life, and just assume, it can’t get any better.

This is not the kind of life God intended for you.  It hurts him to see pile after pile of trash dumped upon you.  Guess what?  You don’t have to live there!  You can move out of the dump, and into a garden, but you will need the help of the Gardner.  The One who loves you like you can’t even imagine.  Will you accept his invitation?  Will you change your address?  Come live in the garden God wanted you to live in.  Oh, and the cost?  Free, for his Son, Jesus paid it for you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Mark Brady    1962 – 2018

my tomb stone 2We are gathered here today to pay our respects to Mark Brady.  In this grave, six feet below us, lies his body, his flesh.  Living by his flesh caused him to hurt a lot of people.  Wife, children, friends, sibling, coworkers, and even his mother and father.  Being led by his flesh opened the door to enter into a sin, where the result cast him out of the will of God.

Mark wondered around his own Mt. Sinai for 30 years.  After getting tired of the heat, of the desert, and the sand, he said, “oh the gritty, annoying sand got everywhere”, he begin looking for the exit ramp.

The act of dying doesn’t hurt, but killing your flesh does.  It goes against everything you know.  We’re afraid, if we do, we won’t be comfortable with ourselves, or others won’t, but is that more important than having Jesus comfortable with us?  It’s completely living the way Jesus showed us how to live.  Meaning, how to respond to others in our world.  An old man once said, “Life isn’t hard.  It’s all the freakin people that make it hard.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].  (Mat 16:24 AMP)

Jesus told us to take up “our” cross and follow him.  The cross being an instrument of death.  So why would one want to?  It’s hard to describe unless you begin to experience it, but there is such joy in becoming intimate with God.  Becoming a son, like Jesus is.  God loves his Son, Jesus so much!  With that said, when you begin to walk in son ship with God, there is more peace, more joy, more faith, and definitely, more love than you could ever imagine!  It’s living life more abundantly!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Is This It?

20171122_144820

The church, where I first learned about a better life.

Have you ever asked yourself is this it?  What’s next?  Is there more?

As I was giving thanks to God this week for His many blessings upon my life, a thought hit me.  One I don’t recall having before.  For those who have never accepted Jesus as their savior, and had their sins, wrongs forgiven, then this is it!  This life is the best they will ever have.  For them, there is no hope for an even better life.

This life, with its hardships, struggles, and pain.  This life with its sickness and diseases.  With its final blow, death!

But we don’t have to settle for just this life.  We can choose to have the hope of a better life.  A life with no hurt, sickness, and no death.  Think of it this way; if those who believe and have accepted God are wrong then we have only gotten the same as you.  This life.  But, if we are right, if our faith delivers the hope God’s word says is waiting for us then we have so much more.  So much more than just this life.  And on the way to that better life, is God.

Act 2:26-28   I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope. I know you’ll never dump me in Hades (Hell); I’ll never even smell the stench of death. You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around. (MSG)

 Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Evicting Spiders

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWarm sunny morning.  As I opened the curtains I see the shadow of a large spider projected onto my roller shade.  I slowly raised the shade to revel an ugly spider.  I hate spiders, so when it comes to sharing earth with them I have one rule: “I get the inside of the house and they can have the entire outside”.  I think it’s a fair deal.

I had never seen a spider like this one before, so as creeped out as I was I wanted to get a closer look.  I leaned in toward the window, extending my index finger and wondered what he would do if I tapped on the glass.  As my finger was about to reach the glass I had the horrifying realization He’s on the inside!  Now I wish I had grabbed my phone and taken a picture, but I went for the kill.  I didn’t want him packing up and leaving Dodge alive.

Sin is like spiders; creepy, stealth like, and can be very harmful.  As is with spiders, some sin seems harmless, while other sins can lead to death, but sin, like spiders on the inside of the house, must be evicted.  There is no place for sin.  Mankind rates sin, but God doesn’t.  He knows that sin is sin, and all of it is harmful and can even kill you.  Rom 6:23  Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (MSG)  Evict sin.  Don’t allow any wrong doing in your life.  Always do the right thing at any cost.  Doing so might just save your life.

Note:  I was working on a project titled “What was God Thinking…” and one chapter was “When He Created Spiders?”  In my research I learned spiders are necessary.  They control the population of other insects.  So we need them, but God, really, did you have to make them so creepy?  Oh, and one last thing, only one was spider was actually harmed in the making of this post!

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

 

Would You?

Dying for someone elseHow far would you go for someone else?  Would you take a bullet for someone, like the secret service men who protect our president?  Would you volunteer to be put to death so someone else could live?  The answer to these questions probably matter on who the one escaping death is, and how much they mean to you.

What if the one going to die was your spouse, parent, or your child?  Would you die for them?  What if it was more than just dying?  What if you were asked to die and then to spend eternity in hell on behalf of the one you choose to take their place of?  Would you do that?  Knowing hell is a place of utter darkness where individuals are tormented constantly.  That makes the decision a lot harder.

I had a situation this past week come up where some people close to me hurt me very bad.  First I had to use a lot of “Satan Spray” (see last week’s post) and then I started earnestly praying for those individuals.  I prayed they would come back to living a life pleasing to God and not the devil.  Then I had the thought, if they don’t change their lifestyles they could very well wind up in hell!  I wasn’t judging them, I was only comparing their lives to the word of God.  I began to pray for them even harder, and a new thought hit me.  I said, “God, I don’t want to see them die and go to hell.  I love them so much.  Could I take their place?”  Now tears flowing.  I know I can’t take their place, because everyone will be judged on their own.

Then I was reminded, this is exactly what Jesus did.  He loves us so much he told his Father he would die for us and go to hell on our behalf.  So that those who choose to believe in him and ask him to be their Lord would be saved from eternal death.  The difference is Jesus had the power to break through the utter darkness.  His light overcame Satan, and now there was a way for those who believe and accept him to live.  WOW!  What love!

Joh 3:16  “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. (MSG)

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Are You Wrong?

wrongEverybody has an opinion on what happens after they die.  Some of those opinions are: nothing happens, reincarnation, you go to heaven, and various other beliefs.  I personally believe that if one has accepted Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and have asked him to forgive their sins then they go to heaven.  If they haven’t then they go to hell.  Either way, it’s for eternity!

I was talking about this subject with a coworker several years ago, and he believed then in reincarnation.  Our conversation ended by me saying, “John (not his name), if your belief is right then neither one of us have anything to worry about, BUT, if I am right then you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while you are standing before God giving an account as to how you lived.”  He walked away concerned.

Also, keep in mind, just because one claims to know Jesus, doesn’t mean they have accepted him, or obeyed his commandments.  Consider these verses from the Bible:

Mat 7:21 – 23  Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?  And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly. (AMP)

So the question then is this:  “Are you okay being wrong?”

 

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Choose to Live

20161119_112851A young man hid in the bushes.  When he judged the train was too close to stop in time he ran out and dove onto the tracks.

I was riding that train on my way to work this past week.  I have been commuting in and out of Chicago for 23 years, but this was the first time I have actually been on the train that struck a pedestrian.  They ruled it a suicide immediately.

While the investigation was proceeding I thought about this person and wondered, how bad was his life that he decided he had no more hope?  What was going on?  Satan won a victory that morning.  John 10:10 tells us, “Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy.”  Anything God has created, or made, including mankind, Satan wants to get rid of it.

Pastor Robert Morris, of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas once said, “As long as you are alive, you have hope.”  If you are hurting, if the pain is more than you think you can bare, then please talk to someone.  Please, I beg you.  There are numerous organizations that are set up to help in all kinds of ways, but you must contact them.  Depression, and mental illness is not something that shows up on the outside.  Most people may not ever know, until you speak up.  And if someone speaks up to you, I pray you will love and care about them enough to listen intently, and help them.  Life, can be a beautiful thing.  Choose it.

Copyright © 2016 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Is it 10:00?

“Betty, what are you doing?” asked the caregiver.

“I have to get dressed.  I have a 10:00 appointment.”

“Its 2:00 Betty.”

“Morning, or afternoon?”

“Morning.”

She helped Betty get back into her hospital bed.  Betty tried this again two more times.

“But I have an appointment at 10:00.  I need to get dressed.”

“Betty, you don’t have an appointment today at 10.”

“Yes I do.”

“Here, let me help you get comfortable in your bed.”

Betty went to be with Jesus at 10:24 AM.

This is a true story.  Betty was my great aunt.  I wrote about her on her 97th birthday this past January.  I once told her that she has lived so long her friends, already in heaven, might think she passed and went the other direction.  In another conversation, “Your place, that Jesus promises to make for us in heaven, must really be something, because it has taken a long time to get it ready.”

We all have an appointment to keep one day.  When we too will stand before God.  I hope you’re ready like my aunt was.

“I love you Aunt Betty!  I’m going to miss you, but I’m glad you are home.”

Aunt Betty 97

Betty

Are You Afraid of Sin?

DSC_6087When the serpent was talking to Eve, why didn’t she run?  Today if a serpent was around, most of us would run.  Before Eve’s eyes were opened she didn’t know any fear.  She didn’t need to, with the exception of fearing God, meaning respect Him, and His words.  Here in front of her was sin, evil, the downfall of mankind and the world, yet she wasn’t afraid.

Are you afraid of sin?  Are you afraid of your sin?  A lot people must not be because there is a lot of it going on.  Sinning that is.  Why?  1)  Some people don’t feel what they are doing is wrong.  They justify it in a number of ways.  Real deception is when they think the wrong they are doing is actually right.  2)  The other reason they aren’t afraid of their sin is they don’t know what it cost.  Ultimately it will cost them their life.  Before that it may cost them a good job, a loving family, friends.

All sin must be paid for.  There are only two ways to do this.  1)  Either you pay for your own sin, which means dying eternally in hell, a lake of fire, and utter darkness.  2)  You accept the fact the Son of God, Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay for your sins, which means you will live in eternity in heaven.

Live in heaven forever, or die in hell forever?  Are you afraid of sin now?  You should be.

Rom 3:23   For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (KJV)
Rom 6:23   Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (MSG)

Who’s Remembered?

“If I hear you died, I would only cry one hour”, says my ex-girlfriend.  Gees, was I that bad?  I can’t explain it, but going on a big trip makes me think of death.  It makes me think of the people who are, or have been in my life.  If the worst happens how will I be remembered?  Will the thought of me bring a smile or a few “choice” words?

What about you?  If you left the lives of those you do life with today, how would you be remembered tomorrow?

Those that did life with Jesus never forgot him.  Never stopped being a witness of his love, his mercy, his grace and his power.

The truth is, one isn’t likely to die on a big trip, but can just as easily die during the process of living life in a very predictable way.  The point here then is to live that predictable life in an unpredictable manner.

Live it in a way that causes those around you and those who encounter you toth
sit up and take notice that there is something indeed different about you.  So strikingly different they inquire of what sets you apart from the rest of humanity they live with.  Then you will have the incredible opportunity to be a witness of Jesus and his love, his mercy, his grace and his power.

The main goal of my life is this:  It’s okay if people don’t remember me when I die, but I hope they never forget the One (Jesus) I tried my best to live for, and smile.